Johnny & June - Mural
Tourism London, Downtown London, Budweiser Gardens, Dundas Place and Young & Free Press have been working together to develop "Johnny & June" - a three-story mural on the north side of Budweiser Gardens that celebrates an iconic moment in London's music history.
Johnny Cash, a global music icon, is famous for his countless hit songs, memorable live performances and long-time musical partnership with, and marriage to, June Carter. Interestingly, Cash and Carter have a timeless and significant link to London, Ontario.
On February 22, 1968, Johnny Cash proposed to June Carter on-stage during a concert at the London Gardens. By all accounts, the seven thousand fans in attendance were stunned, although calls of 'say yes' could be heard in the crowd. Carter attempted to dodge the question at first, but Cash waited, and eventually she said yes.
We know the rest of the story. The pair got married and became one of the leading couples of country music, gradually transcending all categorizations and simply becoming music icons. Their love endured, despite some reported ups and downs. Perhaps the facts that the relationship was imperfect, but lasting, was what made fans feel such a strong connection to the couple.
The connections to London run deeper still. From 1961 to 1973, Cash was managed by Saul Holiff, a once-upon-a-time fruit vendor in the Forest City. Holiff recruited June Carter to sing with Cash in 1961 and dealt with the ups and downs of the 'Man in Black' throughout those years. And so, London is tied inextricable to Cash and Carter.
June Carter died on May 15, 2003. Johnny Cash passed away shortly thereafter on September 12, 2003. With this new work by artist Kevin Ledo, the connection between the couple and London will be highlighted in grand fashion. As Canada's first and only UNESCO City of Music, this new mural will also serve as a reminder of a fascinating moment in London's music history.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Kevin Ledo is a celebrated mural artist from Montreal, perhaps best-known for his spectacular portraits of famous cultural figures like Leonard Cohen, Alex Trebek and Rosa Parks. His artwork can be found in cities near and far. In the book Mural Master by Kiriakos Losifidis, which features scores of the top street artists worldwide, Ledo is described as creating "visually bold, iconic compositions, while focusing on portraiture and the human form, interlaced with stylized abstract forms. Ledo's figures are suspended in a minimalistic and slightly surreal world, captured in moments of contemplation, intimacy, emotion and wonderment." For this mural in London, Ledo is assisted by artist Dave Todaro.